Since many of you will be traveling over the holiday weekend, we have put together a series on Traveling with Children.
It’s vacation time and that means preparing for everything when traveling with children. As every parent knows, something will inevitably happen unexpectedly along the way so we have created our 5 must haves for travel with children to help you go prepared for anything this year. This list is geared toward younger children but can be adapted to any age easily as well as working for both road and air travel.
5 Must Haves for Travel With Children
(1) KID FRIENDLY FIRST AID KIT. We all know having a first aid kit handy is important but do you think about it being kid friendly? In my book a must have for travel with children is medication made specifically for them. Grabbing a kid friendly first aid kit allows you the ease of dropping one little box in a bag and going. Not only do they come with the typical bandages and ointments the kid friendly versions will come with liquid or chewable common medications like pain reliever, anti-itch creams and allergy medications. There is nothing worse than being in a strange city hunting down a store with kids medications when your child spikes an unexpected fever at 2 a.m. in a hotel room. If traveling by car it is easy to create your own kid friendly kit. You can take medications in your luggage when flying but check guidelines for airlines, etc. on requirements on packaging.
(2) FAVORITE ITEM FROM HOME. This is standard in parenting. Kids need a comfort item from home whether they are staying overnight at a friend’s house, grandparents or traveling to a different city. Blanket, stuffed animal, toy or even small pillow can all be easily packed in carry-on bags for air travel or in back seat bags for car travel. Comfort from home is a must have for travel with children of all ages.
(3) DON’T FORGET THE PLUS ONE. When traveling you can almost always have access to laundry facilities, but just in case err on the side of caution and pack just one more outfit for your child and keep handy in their carryon or back seat bag. Motion sickness and illness or bathroom accidents are unfortunately all too common and require clean up and change of clothes. Go prepared with one spare outfit (sock, underwear, shirt and bottom) for your child on all occasions.
(4) QUIET ACTIVITIES. No matter where you are traveling you will need some quiet time. In the car or on an airplane quiet activities are certainly must haves for travel with children. We prefer simple things like coloring books, activity books, easy to read children’s books, quiet games and handheld devices. There are numerous inexpensive travel games available to purchase in store and online for all ages.
(5) EXPLAIN WHAT WILL HAPPEN. This is especially important for first time travelers. Whether you are traveling by car or plane children feel the most comfort when they understand and are familiar with their surroundings or the processes they will be going through. For a road trip it would be important to explain the length of time in a way they can understand. For younger kids telling them it will take as long as watching Finding Nemo 5 times might make more sense to them than simply saying 10 hours. For a first time flyer, check with the airport you are leaving from and ask if they can visit the security checkpoint ahead of time so the scanners and layout won’t be frightening to them.
Plan ahead and remember to listen to your child and their individual fears and needs prior to departure. What may not seem like a big deal to you could be huge in their minds eye. It’s always best to sit down ahead of travel plans and let them know what to expect and work with them on planning for things like clothing or toys they want to bring as well as good games and activities to take along.
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